A federal judge
on Friday blocked a Tennessee law that required business
owners to post signs outside gendered restrooms if the business allowed customers to use them according to their gender identity
Tennessee's Republican-controlled legislature passed the bill earlier this year, and Gov. Bill Lee
(R) quickly signed it, claiming that it promotes "equality."
advocates and allies claim that the law discriminates against the transgender
community because it targets people
who do not identify with the sex
assigned to them at birth, and it also applies to locker rooms and changing rooms.
According to The Associated Press
, the law is the first in five years to restrict transgender people's bathroom use, but it is just one piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation being pushed by Republicans
across the country.
Tennessee law requires the signs to be at least 8 inches wide and 6 inches tall, with the following text: “This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the restroom designation.”
In her decision, Judge Aleta Trauger dismantled the GOP
's argument that the law prevents sexual predators from assaulting restroom users, citing the lack of evidence of such attacks as well as the lack of proof that the signs would address the issue even if there was evidence of sexual predators abusing private bathroom policies.
Trauger, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton
, also determined that the law raises significant First Amendment
concerns and predicted that the plaintiffs would win their lawsuit
against the state.
According to the lawsuit, one of the businesses challenging the law is a limited liability company that operates several cafes and restaurants
that have both employed and served transgender people; the other is Sanctuary, a performing arts venue founded by and catering to members of the local transgender community.
The American Civil Liberties Union
advocates on their behalf.
Businesses are concerned that the required signs will drive customers away or cause confusion.